Well, Christmas is here again, the decorations and tree are still standing and the TV guide is ready. However, I have to finish work first so time for some tea. It’s a sign it’s Christmas as my daily hurricane of emails has slowed almost sufficiently to write a blog at lunch. I do like spicy tea in the wintertime to warm up my cockles from the wind and rain, or snow if we’re really unlucky and the country grinds to an immediate halt. Christmas this year seems unusually warm, and we have overcast weather and rain. I’m not complaining though as it saves on de-icing the car first thing in the morning!
This Christmas Signature Spice tea from Waitrose is China black tea blended with spice of tangerine, cassia cinnamon, and star anise, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice with a hint of black pepper. I gave the teabag a good (Food Blogger’s) sniff on opening the Christmassy looking box. I could definitely pick up on a strong tangerine smell mixed with a multitude of spices, with the ginger cinnamon and cardamom standing out from the crowd. I made a foolish assumption with my first cup on seeing China black tea in the ingredients and added my regular splash of milk. Even after a few minutes of brewing the tea looked like a sick cow’s milk. For a change I thought I’d then look at the instructions, which stated “best served without milk”. I then became distracted by several emails at work and noticed after an unknown amount of time that my tea had gone slightly darker. Now at drinking temperature the heavily brewed tea tasted less like tangerine then the teabag had smelled. This was more of a relief then anything, as where the subtleties of Orange Pekoe to tantalise the tastebuds, pulling the pin out of a tangerine grenade and dropping it in a mug of tea might make a small splash to start with, but the sheer strength of tangerine without the mixture of spices could have been like my tastebuds receiving a swift kick in the Christmas Baubles! In fact the tangerine flavour became almost secondary with the bulk of spices that seemed to whirl around my mouth. Each mouthful full of flavour with cardamom, cloves and nutmeg mixed with a hefty amount of cassia cinnamon to start with, toiled around my tastebuds like an angry winter’s storm and had a tail-end of a mixture ginger and tangerine, as well as a dash of black pepper to finish.
For my second cup I went without milk. I still forgot about the brewing process and left the teabag in far too long whilst looking at emails and spreadsheets. The battle of the spices was certainly still present although I would have thought that the milk would have dulled their fierceness, however this was not the case, the milk had previously made the spice storm more intense in my tastebuds. Without the milk the tangerine taste was dulled further and at the end of each mouthful the spices that had been warming me against a dark stormy sky seemed to smooth out and then dissipate into a sunny cloudless day, rather than the previous mixture of tangerine and ticklish ginger.
This is a perfect winter’s brew that warmed my cockles a little too much in an already overheated office. Best drunk outside or with a fan on in a hot office, with or without milk, but I preferred milk builder’s strength, but I’d advise you to wear a hard hat!
Have a Merry Christmas!! ;-D
Information on the packet;
15 pyramid tea bags. Ingredients included; tea, cassia cinnamon (10.8%), ginger (4%), allspice (2.2%), Nutmeg, Cardamom, star anise, black pepper, cloves, tangerine peel, and tangerine flavouring.